Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi     515 posts


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"THE TROUBLE LIES WITH YOUR DESIRE TO OBJECTIFY THE SELF"

16th February, 1937
A visitor remarks that it is cruel of God’s leela to make the knowledge of the Self so hard.

Bh. (laughing) - Knowing the Self is being the Self, and being means existence – one’s own existence, which no one denies, any more than one denies one’s eyes, although one cannot see them.

The trouble lies with your desire to objectify the Self, in the same way as you objectify your eyes when you place a mirror before them. You have been so accustomed to objectivity that you lost the knowledge of yourself, simply because the Self cannot be objectified.

Who is to know the Self? Can the insentient body know it? All the time you speak and think of your ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’, yet when questioned you deny knowledge of it. You are the Self, yet you ask how to know the Self. Where then is God’s leela and where its cruelty? It is because of this denial of the Self by people that the Shastras speak of maya, leela, etc.

- Guru Ramana

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The man who loves the all-supporting God with the understanding that nothing can be achieved by his own actions, and who expects instead that all actions will be performed by God alone, that man is lead every minute by God along the path of Truth.

Padamalai, p 250

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The man who loves the all-supporting God with the understanding that nothing can be achieved by his own actions, and who expects instead that all actions will be performed by God alone, that man is lead every minute by God along the path of Truth.

Padamalai, p 250

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Thoughts come and go. Feelings come and go.
Find out what it is that remains.

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Question: I have read in a book by Romain Rolland about Ramakrishna that nirvikalpa samadhi is a terrible and terrifying experience. Is nirvikalpa so terrible? Are we then undergoing all these tedious processes of meditation, purification and discipline only to end in a state of terror? Are we going to turn into living corpses?

Bhagwan : People have all sorts of notions about nirvikalpa. Why speak of Romain Rolland? If those who have all the Upanishads and vedantic tradition at their disposal have fantastic notions about nirvikalpa, who can blame a westerner for similar notions? Some yogis by breathing exercises allow themselves to fall into a cataleptic state far deeper than dreamless sleep, in which they are aware of nothing, absolutely nothing, and they glorify it as nirvikalpa. Some others think that once you dip into nirvikalpa you become an altogether different being. Still others take nirvikalpa to be attainable only through a trance in which the world-consciousness is totally obliterated, as in a fainting fit. All this is due to their viewing it intellectually.
Nirvikalpa is chit – effortless, formless consciousness. Where does the terror come in, and where is the mystery in being oneself? To some people whose minds have become ripe from a long practice in the past, nirvikalpa comes suddenly as a flood, but to others it comes in the course of their spiritual practice, a practice which slowly wears down the obstructing thoughts and reveals the screen of pure awareness ‘I’-’I’. Further practice renders the screen permanently exposed. This is Self-realization, mukti, or sahaja samadhi, the natural, effortless state. Mere nonperception of the differences [vikalpas] outside is not the real nature of firm nirvikalpa. Know that the non-rising of differences [vikalpas] in the dead mind alone is the true nirvikalpa.

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IT IS NOT YOUR WORK

D: Is a set meditation necessary for strengthening the mind?

M: Not if you keep the idea always before you that it is not your work. At first, effort is needed to remind yourself of it, but later on it becomes natural and continuous. The work will go on of its own accord, and your peace will remain undisturbed.

Meditation is your true nature. You call it meditation now, because there are other thoughts distracting you. When these thoughts are dispelled, you remain alone — that is, in the state of meditation free from thoughts; and that is your real nature, which you are now trying to gain by keeping away other thoughts. Such keeping away of other thoughts is now called meditation. But when the practice becomes firm, the real nature shows itself as true meditation.

- Maharshi's Gospel

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WORK AND RENUNCIATION

Disciple: What is the highest goal of spiritual experience for man?

Maharshi: Self-realization.

D: Can a married man realize the Self?

M: Certainly. Married or unmarried, a man can realize the Self; because That is here and now.

If it were not so, but attainable by some effort at some time, and if it were new and had to be acquired, it would not be worth pursuit. Because, what is not natural is not permanent either. But what I say is that the Self is here and now, and alone.

- Maharshi's Gospel

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WHAT IS MEANT BY SAMSARA?

During the early days of my arrival here, on one day at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, a middle-aged Andhra, who had come recently, asked Bhagavan, “Swami, as I repeat Rama Namam (the name of Rama) regularly every morning and every evening for an hour, other thoughts come in, one by one, increase from time to time and ultimately find that I have forgotten my japam. What shall I do?”

“At that time catch hold of that name (Rama Namam)” said Bhagavan. We all laughed. Poor man! He felt grieved and said,

“The reasons for these interruption is the samsara (family), is not it? I am therefore thinking of abandoning the samsara.”

Bhagavan said, “Oh! Is that so? What really is meant by samsara? Is it within or without?” “Wife, children and others” he said. “Is that all the samsara? What have they done? Please find out first what really is meant by samsara. Afterwards we shall consider the question of abandoning them,” said Bhagavan. He could not reply and so kept quiet, crestfallen.

Bhagavan’s heart was full of compassion. With a look full of tender kindness he said, “Supposing you leave your wife and children. If you are here this will become another kind of samsara. Supposing you take to sannyasa. Another kind of samsara comes into existence in the shape of a karra (walking stick), kamandalu (water bowl) and the like. Why all that? Samsara means samsara of the mind. If you leave that samsara, it will be the same thing wherever you are. Nothing troubles you.”

Poor man! He mustered up some courage and said, “Yes, that is it, Swami. How to give up that samsara of the mind?” Bhagavan said, “That is just it; you said you were doing the japam of Rama Namam. During the train of thoughts, you said you were sometimes reminded of the fact that you had forgotten the japam of Rama Namam. Try to remind yourself of that fact as often as possible and catch hold of the name of Rama frequently. Other thoughts will then slowly decrease. For the japam of nam (repeating the name of the Lord) several stages have been prescribed.

It is better to repeat the name by the mere motion of the lips than by repeating it aloud; better than that is to repeat it in the mind, and the best is dhyanam.

Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 2nd December, 1945

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THE PLACE OF THE HEART

D: But I have heard it said by a Saint that his spiritual experience is felt at the place between the eyebrows.

M: As I said previously, that is the ultimate and perfect Realization which transcends subject-object relation. When that is achieved, it does not matter where the spiritual experience is felt.

D: But the question is, which is the correct view of the two, namely, (1) that the centre of spiritual experience is the place between the eyebrows, (2) that it is the heart.

M: For purposes of practice you may concentrate between the eyebrows, it would then be bhavana or imaginative contemplation of the mind; whereas the supreme state of anubhava or Realization, with which you become wholly identified and in which your individuality is completely dissolved, transcends the mind. Then, there can be no objectified centre to be experienced by you as a subject distinct and separate from it.

- Maharshi's Gospel

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The Master is both within and without,
so he creates conditions to drive you inwards and at the same time
prepares the interior to drag you to the Centre.

~ Path of Self-Knowledge, 14

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SAMADHI ALONE CAN REVEAL THE TRUTH

D: What is the use of samadhi and does thought subsist then?

M: Samadhi alone can reveal the Truth. Thoughts cast a veil over Reality, and so It is not realized as such in states other than samadhi.

In samadhi there is only the feeling ‘I AM’ and no thoughts. The experience ‘I AM’ is being still.

- Maharshi’s Gospel

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The greatest form of ego for an individual is to present himself as a teacher and become a guru.

~ Ramana Periya, Puranam, p. 135

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Meenakshi was the wife of Muruganar, an outstanding devotee of Sri Ramana and a great poet:
Though my marriage was celebrated in a grand manner, I hardly had any married life worth the name. Soon after my marriage, my father left home and became a permanent inmate of Sri Ramanasramam and lived as Dandapani Swami. My husband who was a Tamil teacher in a Mission School got a copy of Aksharamanamalai from my father. After reading it he left home and reached Sri Ramanasramam and got totally
absorbed in Bhagavan. When I reached there, I found him and yet did not find him for he was now wholly of Bhagavan, and point blank refused to accept me as his wife.Yet I stayed at the Ashram.
In those days, the Ashram comprised just two cottages set in the most picturesque surroundings. There was the backdrop of the Arunachala hill in all its majesty. Bhagavan would do the cooking and I would assist him. The inmates were only about ten and we would literally feast on Bhagavan. Sri Ramana would teach me some new Tamil devotional song each day, and make me recite it the next day to ensure that I had learnt the same properly.
One day while all were meditating, my thoughts strayed. I started wishing for a cup of coffee. Bhagavan knew everyone’s thoughts. He said, “While everyone is meditating on the Self, Meenakshi is meditating on coffee.” Just then Manavasi Ramaswami Iyer arrived with iddlies and coffee for all of us. Bhagavan jokingly said, “Meenakshi’s tapas has borne fruit, please serve her first.”
After being abandoned by Muruganar, who would not take me as wife even after Bhagavan’s intervention, one day I wept bitterly before Bhagavan. He asked, “Did anyone chide you?” “No Bhagavan, I was only cursing my fate.” With a heart brimming with love he said, “Meenakshi, why don’t you have faith in my words? What is there in the family life of
which you are so enamoured? My protection is always there for you”.

FACE TO FACE WITH SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI

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Padam's power

One day when I was sitting by the side of Bhagavan I felt so miserable that I put the following question to him: "Is the 'sankalpa' (will or intention) of the jnani not capable of warding off the destinies of the devotees?"
Bhagavan smiled and said:" Does the jnani have a 'sankalpa' at all? The 'jivanmukta' (liberated being) can have no sankalpas whatsoever. It is just impossible."
I continued:" Then what is the fate of all of us who pray to you to have grace on us and save us? Will we not be benefited or saved by sitting in front of you, or by coming to you?"
Bhagavan turned graciously to me and said:"...a person's bad karma will be considerably reduced while he is in the presence of a jnani. A jnani has no sankalpas but his 'sannhidi' (presence) is the most powerful force.
He need not have sankalpa, but his presiding presence, the most powerful force can do wonders: save souls, give peace of mind,, even give liberation to ripe souls. Your prayers are not answered by him but absorbed by his presence. His presence saves you, wards off the karma and gives you the boons as the case may be, (but) involuntarily. The jnani does save the devotees, but not by sankalpa, which is non-existent in him, only through his presiding presence, his sannhidi.

PADAMALAI
Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi recorded by Muruganar
-edited and annotated by D.Godman

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Everyone is committing suicide.

The eternal, blissful, natural state has been smothered by this ignorant life. In this way the present life is due to the killing of the eternal, positive existence.

Is it not really a case of suicide? So, why worry about killing etc.?

~ Maharshi's Gospel

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SLEEP DURING WAKING

D: I cannot remain in sushupti as long as I like and also be in it at will, just as I am in the waking state? What is the jnani’s experience of these three states?

M: Sushupti does exist in your waking state also. You are in sushupti even now. That should be consciously entered into and reached in this very waking state. There is no real going in and coming out of it. To be aware of sushupti in the jagrat state is jagrat-sushupti and that is samadhi.

The ajnani cannot remain long in sushupti, because he is forced by his nature to emerge from it. His ego is not dead and it will rise again and again. But the jnani crushes the ego at its source. It may seem to emerge at times in his case also as if impelled by prarabdha.

That is, in the case of the jnani also, for all outward purposes prarabdha would seem to sustain or keep up the ego, as in the case of the ajnani; but there is this fundamental difference, that the ajnani’s ego when it rises up (really it has subsided except in deep sleep) is quite ignorant of its source; in other words, the ajnani is not aware of his sushupti in his dream and waking states;

in the case of the jnani, on the contrary, the rise or existence of the ego is only apparent, and he enjoys his unbroken, transcendental experience in spite of such apparent rise or existence of the ego, keeping his attention (lakshya) always on the Source. This ego is harmless; it is merely like the skeleton of a burnt rope — though with a form, it is useless to tie up anything. By constantly keeping one’s attention on the Source, the ego is dissolved in that Source like a salt-doll in the sea.

- Maharshi’s Gospel, p. 29

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Sri Kunju Swami narrated the following:

“Sri Bhagavan used to go into the kitchen by 4 a.m. and start cutting vegetables; one or two of us would also join and help. Sometime the amount of vegetables used to startle us. Bhagavan managed to cut much more and more quickly than the rest of us. “At such times we would look up at the clock in our impatience to finish the job and try and have another nap.

Bhagavan would sense our impatience and say: ‘Why do you look at the clock?’ We tried to bluff Bhagavan saying: ‘If only we could complete the work before 5, we could meditate for an hour.’ Bhagavan would mildly retort: ‘The allotted work has to be completed in time. Other thoughts are obstacles, not the amount of work. Doing the allotted work in time is itself meditation. Go ahead and do the job with full attention.’ Sri Bhagavan thus taught us the importance of right, honest work”.

- V. Ganesan

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''When a room is dark you need a lamp to light it, but
when the sun rises there is no need for a lamp; objects are seen
without one. And to see the sun itself no lamp is needed because it is self-luminous. Similarly with the mind. The reflected light of the mind is necessary to perceive objects, but to see the heart it is enough for the mind to be turned towards it. Then the mind loses itself and the Heart shines forth.

It is a tantric practice to concentrate on one of the chakras or
spiritual centres of the body, very often on the point between
the eyebrows. As will be shown in a later chapter, the heart on
the right side is not one of these chakras; nevertheless, in the
following passage, Bhagavan explains concisely his teaching
that concentration on the heart-centre is more effective than
on any other point but less effective than pure enquiry.

D.: There are said to be six (subtle) organs of different
colours in the chest, of which the spiritual heart is said to be the
one situated two fingers’ breadth, to the right from the centre!
But the heart is also said to be formless. Does that mean that we should imagine it to have a form and meditate on this?

B.: No; only the quest – ‘Who am I?’ is necessary. That
which continues to exist throughout sleep and waking is the same being in both; but while waking there is unhappiness and therefore the effort to remove it. When asked who awakes from sleep, you say ‘I’. Hold fast to this ‘I’. If that is done the Eternal Being reveals itself. The most important thing is the investigation of the ‘I’ and not concentration on the heart centre.

There is no such thing as the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’. Both words mean the same or nothing at all. Nevertheless, there is also the practice of concentration on the heart-centre, which is a form of spiritual exercise. Only he who concentrates on the heart can remain aware when the mind ceases to be active and remains still, with no thoughts, whereas those who concentrate on any other centre cannot retain awareness without thought but only infer that the mind was still after it has become active again.1
In the following passage an English lady remarks on this
awareness without thought and Bhagavan approves.

D.: Thoughts suddenly cease and ‘I-I’ rises up equally
suddenly and continues. It is only a feeling, not a thought. Can
it be right?
B.: Yes, it is quite right. Thoughts have to cease and reason
to disappear for the ‘I-I’ to rise up and be felt. Feeling is the
main thing, not reason.

D.: Moreover, it is not in the head, but at the right side of
the chest.
B.: That is where it should be, because the heart is there.
D.: When I look outwards it disappears. What should I do?
B.: Hold fast to it.

This does not mean that thought is impossible during the state
of ‘I’ consciousness, as indeed one can see from the example of
Bhagavan himself, who was permanently in that state. For the
ignorant person, thought is like a dense cloud overhead, shutting him off from the illumination of the sun. When the ceiling of cloud has been broken and rolled back, letting in the light, he can use thought without being imprisoned by it. To change the metaphor, Bhagavan sometimes compared the mind of the Realised Man to the moon in the sky in day-time – it is there but its light is not needed – because one can see without it by the direct light of the sun.

SUFFERING
One of the problems about which Bhagavan was often asked
was suffering. The questions were usually personal rather than
academic, since it was often the experience of grief which
drove people to seek solace from him. The real solace came as
a silent influence, but he did also answer theoretical questions.
The usual answer was to bid the questioner find out who it is
that suffers, just as he would bid the doubter find who it is
that doubts; for the Self is beyond suffering as it is beyond
doubt. Sometimes, however, on a more contingent level, he
would point out that whatever makes a person dissatisfied
with his state of ignorance and turns him to the quest of the
Self is beneficial and that it is often suffering which is the
means of doing this.

B.: The Bliss of Self is always yours and you will find it if
you seek it earnestly. The cause of your misery is not in your
outer life; it is in you, as your ego. You impose limitations on
yourself and then make a vain struggle to transcend them. All
unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble.
What does it avail you to attribute the cause of misery to the
happenings of life when that cause is really within you? What
happiness can you get from things extraneous to yourself? When you get it, how long will it last?

If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it,
you would be free. If you accept it, it will impose limitations on
you and throw you into a vain struggle to transcend them.
That was how the ‘thief’ sought to ruin King Janaka.
To be the Self that you really are is the only means to
realise the Bliss that is ever yours.

A very devoted and simple devotee had lost his only son, a
child of three. The next day he arrived at the Asramam with his
family. Referring to them Bhagavan said: “Training of mind
helps one to bear sorrows and bereavements with courage; but
the loss of one’s children is said to be the worst of all griefs.
Grief only exists as long as one considers oneself to have a
definite form; if the form is transcended, one knows the One
Self to be eternal. There is neither death nor birth. What is
born is only the body and this is the creation of the ego. But the
ego is not ordinarily perceived without the body and so is
identified with it. It is thought that matters. Let the sensible
man consider whether he knew his body while in deep sleep.
Why, then, does he feel it in the waking state? Although the
body was not felt in sleep, did not the Self exist? What was his
state when in deep sleep and what is it now when awake? What
is the difference? The ego rises up and that is waking.
Simultaneously thoughts arise. Find out who has the thoughts.

Where do they come from? They must arise from the conscious
self. Apprehending this even vaguely helps towards the extinction of the ego. The realisation of the One Infinite Existence becomes possible. In that state there are no individuals but only Eternal Being. Hence there is no thought of death or grieving.

“If a man thinks that he is born he cannot escape the fear
of death. Let him find out whether he was ever born or whether
the Self takes birth. He will discover that the Self always exists
and that the body which is born resolves itself into thought,
and that the emergence of thought is the root of all mischief.
Find where thought comes from, and then you will abide in the
ever-present inmost Self and be free from the idea of birth and
fear of death.”

D.: If some one we love dies, it causes grief. Should we
avoid such grief by either loving all alike or not loving at all?
B.: If someone we love dies, it causes grief to the one who
continues living. The way to get rid of grief is not to continue
living. Kill the griever, and who will then remain to grieve? The
ego must die. That is the only way. The two alternatives you
suggest amount to the same. When all are realised to be the one Self, who is there to love or hate?''

Ramana Maharshi on Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in own Words by Artur Osborne

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Bhakthi and Jnana

D: How should I carry on nama japa?

M: One should not use the name of God mechanically and superficially without the feeling of devotion. To use the name of God one must call upon Him with yearning and unreservedly surrender oneself to Him. Only after such surrender is the name of God constantly with the man.

D: Where is, then, the need for enquiry or vichara?
M: Surrender can take effect only when it is done with full knowledge as to what real surrender means. Such knowledge comes after enquiry and reflection and ends invariably in self-surrender.

There is no difference between jnana and absolute surrender to the Lord, that is, in thought, word and deed. To be complete, surrender must be unquestioning; the devotee cannot bargain with the Lord or demand favors at His hands. Such entire surrender comprises all; it is jnana and vairagya, devotion and love.

- Maharshi’s Gospel

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CONSCIOUS IMMORTALITY

Q: Why is the world in ignorance?

M: Let the world take care of itself.
If you are the body, then there the gross world appears.
If you are the spirit, everything is just spirit.

Look for the ego, and it vanishes. If you enquire, ignorance will be found to be non-existent. It is the mind which feels misery and darkness.

See the Self.

P. 10

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It is only when God Himself by His grace draws the mind inwards that complete surrender can be achieved.

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CONVERTING A CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY

"I can remember one other occasion when Bhagavan appeared to approve of a devotee falling at his feet.

Bhagavan was sitting on a sofa outside the hall and many devotees were coming, prostrating and leaving.

A Christian priest came into the ashram but he didn’t come near Bhagavan, nor did he attempt to prostrate. He just stood at a distance and watched Bhagavan with evident curiosity for about forty-five minutes. Finally, just like a tree falling down, he went down on the floor, prostrated full length and then left. He had obviously had some experience which convinced him of Bhagavan’s greatness but we never found out what it was because he left without saying a word.

After he had gone, Bhagavan smiled and remarked, ‘He couldn’t control himself any longer without doing namaskaram.’"

- LWB

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MIND AND HEART

D: If the mind is merely a shadow how then is one to know the Self?

M: The Self is the Heart, self-luminous. Illumination arises from the heart and reaches the brain, which is the seat of the mind. The world is seen with the mind; so you see the world by the reflected light of the Self. The world is perceived by an act of the mind. When the mind is illumined it is aware of the world; when it is not so illumined, it is not aware of the world.

If the mind is turned in, towards the source of illumination, objective knowledge ceases, and the Self alone shines as the heart.
The moon shines by reflecting the light of the sun. When the sun has set, the moon is useful for displaying objects. When the sun has risen no one needs the moon, though its disc is visible in the sky. So it is with the mind and the heart. The mind is made useful by its reflected light. It is used for seeing objects. When turned inwards, it merges into the source of illumination which shines by Itself and the mind is then like the moon in the daytime.

When it is dark, a lamp is necessary to give light. But when the sun has arisen, there is no need for the lamp; the objects are visible. And to see the sun no lamp is necessary; it is enough if you turn your eyes towards the self-luminous sun. Similarly, with the mind; to see the objects the light reflected from the mind is necessary. To see the heart, it is enough that the mind is turned towards it. Then the mind does not count and the heart is self-effulgent.

- Maharshi’s Gospel

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The guru is the bestower of silence
who reveals the light of Self knowledge which shines as the residual reality.
Spoken words are no use
whatsoever if the eyes of the guru
meet the eyes of his disciple.

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The Pure being is the Reality.
The Pure Being cannot be otherwise than Consciousness. Otherwise you cannot say that you exist.

Therefore Consciousness is the reality.
When that consciousness is associated
with upadhis you speak of Self consciousness,
unconsciousness, human consciousness, dog consciousness,
tree consciousness and so on.
The unfaltering common factor in all of them is Consciousness.

~ Talk no 591.

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Aim high, aim at the highest, and all lower aims thereby achieved. It is looking below on the stormy sea of differences that makes you sink, look up, beyond these and see the One Glorious Real, and you are saved.

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